An article from Marketing Schools, shared the following list of Principles of Ethical Marketing. Although the individuals principles may seem broad and somewhat undefined, that is to be expected. Together they present a strong front for an ethical marketing program, take one or more away and the ethical marketing practices begin to unravel.
Ethical marketing is hard to pinpoint- except to say there is honesty in communications from every possible angle. And to some, honesty is subjective. Odd, but true. There’s a lot of gray in the marketing business.
As subjective as ethical marketing might seem, efforts to improve transparency, truth in advertising, and honest dealings with consumers continue to rise in both corporate practice and consumer expectations. Following the principles below is a good beginning as an organization begins to transition toward more ethical representation of products and services.
Principles of Ethical Marketing
- All marketing communications share the common standard of truth.
- Marketing professionals abide by the highest standard of personal ethics.
- Advertising is clearly distinguished from news and entertainment content.
- Marketers should be transparent about who they pay to endorse their products.
- Consumers should be treated fairly based on the nature of the product and the nature of the consumer (e.g. marketing to children).
- The privacy of the consumer should never be compromised.
- Marketers must comply with regulations and standards established by governmental and professional organizations.
- Ethics should be discussed openly and honestly during all marketing decisions.
Can you think of additional principles that might be added to this list? In the addiction industry, as with other industries where profits have unlimited potential, putting the client need first is a challenge when a variety of factors will determine whether you can make any money with any particular client.
Questions treatment referral companies face when they are paid per client placement:
- Do they ask first if the client is OK, or do they first discover if they have insurance?
- Do they place the client in the best treatment center available to meet the client’s unique needs and circumstances, or do they place at the treatment center that will pay the highest fee?
How do we separate profit from services when dealing directly with clients in need?
More on this in my next blog post: Shades of Gray: Marketing Variables.